Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Twelve Days of Bombing -- Christmas 1972

Forty years ago, while American families were preparing for Christmas, their North Viet Nam’s counterparts hunkered down in bomb shelters in the single largest bombardment since WWII. 

President Richard Nixon ordered the carpet-bombing out of frustration over the stalled "peace talks" between North Vietnam and the US taking place in Paris. It was also meant to send a signal that the US would bomb North Viet Nam into submission, hence giving the US the upper hand at the negotiating table. 

North Viet Nam did return to the negotiating table, but the the upper hand the US did not get as anti-war protests at home and abroad intensified over the bombing, hastening the US withdrawal from Viet Nam.

B-52 Bomber & the 60,000 pounds (27,215 kg) or 108 bombs
From the 18th to 29th of December, 1972, 207 B-52 bombers flew 741 stories, dropped 15,237 tons of bombs, killing 1,624 civilians and brought North Viet Nam to a stand-still.

B-52 releasing its payload over Viet Nam
In the best of America’s football-loving tradition, the bombing operation was named Operation Linebacker II, otherwise also known as the Christmas Bombings. (Click here for Operation Linebacker I.)

Hanoi in the aftermath of Operation Linebacker II
All this was done while the Judeo-Christian America celebrating yuletide, wishing for peace on earth and harmony among mankind.

Worldwide condemnation erupted when Bach Mai
Hanoi's main hospital was bombed
(Here's a related post on American bombing tradition or Bomb First, Talk Later. And here's a very good 2001 article in the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine. All photos were taken from Wikipedia.)

Remnants of a B-52 on the streets of Hanoi


  1. Maybe history will finally be interpreted correctly, it's been enough time: the US brought North Vietnam to its knees, and only the peace talks saved them from a ground invasion of the North. They couldn't win while we were there.

    1. Um but Vietnam still won???? While the US was there????!!!??